Court Martial, a tribunal for the trial of persons in the army or navy charged with military offences. According to article 64 et seq. of the congressional act of May 29, 1830, any general officer commanding an army, or colonel commanding a separate department, may appoint a general court martial, except when such officer or colonel shall be the accuser, in which case the court shall be appointed by the president of the United States. A general court martial may consist of any number of commissioned officers from 5 to 13, but shall not be less than 13 when that number can be convened without manifest injury to the service. The commanding officer decides as to the number. Such a court has no jurisdiction over any citizen not employed in military service. The sentence of the court shall not be carried into execution until the whole proceedings have been laid before the officer commanding the troops for the time being. In time of peace no sentence extending to loss of life or the dismission of a commissioned officer, and either in peace or war no sentence against a general officer, shall be carried into execution until confirmed by the president of the United States, to whom, through the secretary of war, the whole proceedings shall be transmitted.
Every officer commanding a regiment or corps may appoint a court martial, consisting of three commissioned officers, to judge offences not capital committed in his own regiment or corps. Such a court martial may be appointed also by the officers commanding garrisons, forts, or barracks. But in neither of the cases has it power to try a commissioned officer, or to inflict penalties beyond certain limitations.